Mayor Emanuel’s ordinance would require all commercial and residential buildings over 50,000 square feet to provide energy consumption data to the City of Chicago on an annual basis. The proposal requires each building’s data to be posted on a public website; and each building’s energy consumption would be rated and assigned a performance score.
If ComEd cannot supply aggregated energy usage for the building, our manager will then be required to obtain everyone’s account number in order to access energy usage separately. And account numbers will change with changing residents. This would be an enormous burden.
Jim la Chapelle, Technical Operations Manager at Community Specialists, our management company, describes what remains as problems:
• The loss in privacy.
• Fines if the information is not provided.
• The cost of providing a description of the systems and having the figures verified every three years by a licensed professional.
• The fact that only a very tiny fraction of buyers or renters are going to pay attention to or make decisions based on benchmarking. Buyers and renters are looking for cost, interest rates, amenities, view and probably most important – location. Benchmarking has been around at least 30 years in some companies, with no indication that buildings were bought or sold where energy usage was a factor.
• The fact that the vast majority of retrofits are not based on benchmarking but on equipment becoming obsolete, utility rebates and very importantly the payback periods after rebates. Buildings that have come under the benchmarking have become more energy efficient over time but they would have anyway since replacement equipment and materials needed because of age are more efficient than old equipment and materials.
• Of the cities that have instituted benchmarking, several have exempted residential buildings. Why not Chicago?
• Worry about what costly regulations might come out of this program.
345 is mounting another letter-writing campaign, this time to city aldermen who will vote on this issue on September 11 and to Mayor Emanuel.
GUIDELINES FOR LETTERS TO MAYOR AND ALDERMAN
If you have concerns, what YOU SHOULD DO:
Condominium, Co-Op Boards and rental property owners should write letters immediately to Mayor Emanuel and your respective Alderman and other Aldermen that you know.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel……….Alderman Michele Smith
Office of the Mayor…………..43rd Ward Office
Room 500…………………….2523 N Halsted St
121 N LaSalle St……………..Chicago IL 60614-2539
Chicago IL 60602
• Letters must be in the hands of the Mayor and Alderman as soon as possible
• All letters should have at the top – “NO TO RESIDENTIAL BUILDING ENERGY USE BENCHMARKING ORDINANCE”
• Please remember to date all letters.
Only through your individual letters expressing your concerns and opposition to residential building energy benchmarking can we be successful in having the ordinance voted down.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW about the City of Chicago’s ENERGY BENCHMARKING MANDATE
• Will impact all apartment and condo buildings of 50,000 square feet or more by June 2016. [345 is 263,000 square feet]
• The failure of any tenant to provide information to ownership will be SUBJECT TO A FINE OF UP TO $100.00 FOR THE FIRST VIOLATION; and an additional fine of $25.00 for each day that the violation continues.
• FOR A CONDO ASSOCIATION THE FINES COULD AMOUNT TO $9,200 PER YEAR.
• Condo buildings will have to have their energy usage VERIFIED by a licensed professional in the first year and prior to each third benchmarking deadline thereafter. THIS IS AN ADDED COST FOR CONDO AND APARTMENT BUILDING OWNERS.
• Poor energy efficiency scores could stigmatize properties at time of sale and result in lower property values as a result.
• The setting of a score creates the opportunity for the setting of standards in the future. Condo fees will rise due to the additional responsibilities upon associations including the potential for future retrofitting and upgrades to meet city standards or goals based on the aggregation of these building reports.
• The results of these audits will be made public by city regulators online for both commercial and residential buildings.
• A number of cities have these audits but there is no definitive research that this type of mandate decreases energy use. In fact, federal, state or local funding to assist buildings with issues is an open question.
• TENANTS/UNIT OWNERS WILL BE MANDATED TO PROVIDE ENERGY USE DATA TO BUILDING OWNERS OR PROPERTY MANAGER. Failure of the tenant/unit owner to provide the data to the building owner or property manager will not relieve the owner of the responsibility to benchmark the building and fines would be assessed.
• Failure of the tenant to provide information creates a rebutable presumption the owner, tenant or both have not complied with the ordinance; thus a fine shall be applied.
• Commercial buildings of 250,000 sq. ft. are due June 1,2014; BUILDINGS WITH 10% RESIDENTIAL OCCUPANCY OF 250,000 SQ. FT. ARE DUE NO LATER THAN JUNE 1, 2015, AND EVERY JUNE 1ST THEREAFTER.
• Commercial buildings from 50,000 sq. ft. to 250,000 sq. ft. are due on June 1, 2015; buildings with 10% residential occupancy of 50,000 sq. ft. to 250,000 sq. ft. are due June 1, 2016, and every June 1st thereafter.
This ordinance will go into effect 10 days from passage.